Free Outdoor Equipment Lending


Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge has temporarily changed its operations in response to the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak.  Visitor Centers are closed, but trails remain open sunrise to sunset daily.  This closure follows guidance from the CDC, and recommendations from state and local public health authorities.  Updates will be posted to the Refuge website and Facebook page. Our lending programs are suspended until further notice.

  • Snowshoes

    We have a large variety of snowshoes to fit the whole family. Our smallest snowshoes are good for children as young as four. Available at Bloomington Education and Visitor Center 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. every day.

    Snowshoe rental is available when there is at least 6 inches of snow.

  • Binoculars

    Need binoculars? No problem, we've got you covered. Check them out for the day from the front desk at either the Bloomington or Rapids Lake Visitor Center.

  • Explorer Packs

    If you have a junior explorer with you they will enjoy using the equipment in our explorer packs. Most packs contain a small set of binoculars, bug jars, hand lenses and a pocket field guide to add some fun and education to your hike.

  • Where to Rent

    Bloomington Education and Visitor Center
    3815 American Blvd. East
    Bloomington, MN 55425
    Phone: 952-854-5900
    TTY: 1-800-877-8339

    Bloomington Hours:

    • Open everyday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. 
    • Rentals are due back 30 minutes before closing time.

    Rapids Lake Education and Visitor Center
    15865 Rapids Lake Rd. (formerly Carver Highlands Dr.)
    Carver, MN 55315
    Phone: 952-361-4500
    TTY: 1-800-877-8339

    Rapids Lake Hours:

    • Memorial Day - Labor Day: Tuesday - Sunday from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. 
    • Labor Day - Memorial Day: Tuesday - Friday from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
    • Closed December 24-January 1
    • Rentals are due back 30 minutes before closing time.

  • How to Rent

    Check out rentals at the visitor center front desk. You'll need to leave some form of ID (school ID, driver's license ect.)